I’m coping with the usual post-Cannes, L.A.-blues syndrome. I missed last night’s 7:30 pm JFK flight, took a 9:40 pm flight instead. Two compassionate Jet Blue reps took pity and didn’t charge me a penalty. Tennessee Williams and the kindness of strangers.
Missing the 7:30 flight was 35% my fault, 65% the MTA’s.
I was underneath Penn Station on the A and D train platform. An A train with signs that said “JFK” and “Howard Beach” pulled in. It didn’t seem to be going southbound, but I was just fatigued enough to question my own sense of direction. (MTA subway-stop signage doesn’t always clarify which way trains are heading.) I asked a sharp-looking 20something woman, “Excuse me but is this train going to JFK?” Yes, she said. “Really?”
It didn’t seem right but I got on regardless. How could it not be JFK-bound with that signage?
Fake-out! It was a northbound train, headed for Harlem. How could the MTA do this? What kind of fiendish, diabolical minds, etc.? I lost about 15 or 17 minutes, all in. Call it 20. The result was that when I finally got to JFK, I missed the plane by a nosehair.
Ethan Hawke‘s performance in Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed is one of his all-timers. In part, I feel, because he really knows how to channel “tormented”. (I still think Hawke’s anguished-younger-brother performance in Sidney Lumet‘s Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead is his all-time peak.) Somewhere over Kansas last night it hit me that the Hawke of, say, 12 or 14 years ago would been a supremely right Yeshua of Nazareth in Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ. If, obviously, Martin Scorsese hadn’t made his classic 31 years ago and had waited until the early to mid aughts. As moving as Willem Dafoe was, Hawke might have been a notch or two more affecting.
Matt Tyrnauer‘s Studio 54, one of HE’s favorite docs at the Sundance ’18 festival, has finally been acquired for distribution. Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber have picked up U.S. rights and will presumably open it later this year. Took long enough!
From “The Way It Was“, posted on 1.22.18: “The ironclad rule about gaining entrance to the original Studio 54 (i.e., Schrager-Rubell, April ’77 to the ’80 shutdown over tax evasion) was that you had to not only look good but dress well. That meant Giorgio Armani small-collared shirts if possible and certainly not being a bridge-and-tunnel guinea with polyester garb and Tony Manero hair stylings.
“As I watched Studio 54 I was waiting for someone to just say it, to just say that Saturday Night Fever borough types weren’t even considered because they just didn’t get it, mainly because of their dress sense but also because their plebian attitudes and mindsets were just as hopeless. It finally happens at the half-hour mark. One of the door guys (possibly Marc Benecke) says ‘no, the bridge-and-tunnel people never got in“…never.’ I can’t tell you how comforting it was to hear that again after so many years.”
Studio 54 also screened during last month’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Jimmy Stewart would have been 110 years old today if nature hadn’t intervened. There were some tweets celebrating this fact, and it left me with two questions: (a) Which Stewart films are known by Millenials and Gen Z types, if any? and (b) What was Stewart’s greatest or most popular signature role?
I’m inclined to say his finest might not have been George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life or Scotty Ferguson in Vertigo — the two defaults that everyone always mentions.
My top two are actually Senator Ransom Stoddard in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, even though Stewart was obviously too old (53 or 54) to play a greenhorn in John Ford‘s 1962 western classic, and the dogged Chicago newspaper reporter in Call Northside 777.
I’m also a big fan of his Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis. And then comes his chilly-loner performance in Anthony Mann‘s Bend of the River.
My least favorite Stewart performances? Rupert Caddell, the snooty college professor in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. and Chip Hardesty in Mervyn LeRoy’s The FBI Story.
It took me four months to notice something interesting in a February 2018 Vanity Fair piece about 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s an excerpt from a draft of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke‘s script, a scene that was never shot. A conversation between Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and that Mission Control guy (“Sorry about this little snag, fellas”) about what turned HAL into a killer.
MISSION CONTROL: “We believe his truth programming and the instructions to lie, gradually resulted in an incompatible conflict, and faced with this dilemma, he developed, for want of a better description, neurotic symptoms. It’s not difficult to suppose that these symptoms would center on the communication link with Earth, for he may have blamed us for his incompatible programming. Following this line of thought, we suspect that the last straw for him was the possibility of disconnection. Since he became operational, he had never known unconsciousness. It must have seemed the equivalent of death. At that point, he, presumably, took whatever actions he thought appropriate to protect himself from what must have seemed to him to be his human tormentors.”
A fair number of HE regulars saw Paul Schrader‘s First Reformed this weekend, I’m sure. I’ve been doing handstands since I first saw it last August. “A spare, Bresson-like, thoroughly gripping piece about despair, environmental ruin, moral absolutism and sexual-emotional redemption,” I wrote. “Completely rational and meditative and yet half crazy in a good way.”
So what’s the HE community verdict?
Early this morning I walked around a heavy-partying area of Dublin (south of Liffey river, west of Westmoreland). 20somethings, for the most part. The pubs close sometime around 2 or 2:30 am here, but you wouldn’t know it from all the rowdy pumping energy. In most cities 2 am means things are starting to wind down. Not in Dublin, they’re not.
I’ve long felt a spiritual kinship with Ireland and the Irish. During my initial visit in ’88 (accompanied by wife Maggie and infant son Jett) my first thought was “I could die here.” But I felt a slightly uneasy vibe last night. A somewhat loutish, hair-trigger feeling from some of the guys hanging out in groups in front of pubs and whatnot.
You can usually sense civility in people or a lack of, a current of deference and humility and a basic instinct to be nice or a willingness to take a poke if provoked or fucked with in the slightest way. I was feeling more of the latter last night. Everyone bombed and more than a few on the ornery, rambunctious side.
And then I came upon the strangest, angriest drunken Irishman I’ve ever gotten a whiff of. This guy, 25 or slightly younger, was so stinking and so consumed with rage that he was just standing in front of a Burger King, immobile, looking slightly downward but more or less statue-like, like he’d been carved out of wood or injected with a drug that turned his muscles into stone. “Don’t touch me or come close…fauhhck, man, don’t even look at me,” his body seemed to be saying.
It was eerie. Drunks generally stumble or flail around or lie down or lean against walls. This guy was beyond all that. It was like he was trying to decide who to hit or how to kill himself or what weapon to use.
“Trump has opened up the floodgates, and the poison is coursing through the body politic. Republicans have been cranking up the racist mob for 40, 50 years. The Southern strategy…dog whistle, dog whistle, dog whistle. And then along comes Trump, who throws the dog whistle over his shoulder and picks up a bullhorn. He’s a disinhibitor.”
Filed at 3:30 am Dublin time…later. I haven’t been here since the fall of ’88. The Aer Lingus flight back to NYC leaves tomorrow at 1 pm. Update: In the breakfast room of the Clifton Court hotel (11 Eden Quay), 8:10 am. Leaving for airport in a couple of hours.
Asia Argento remarks, delivered at Cannes Film festival award ceremony earlier this evening: “I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here in Cannes. I was 21 years old. The festival was his hunting ground. Even tonight there are those that need to be held responsible for their conduct. You know who you are. But most importantly we know who you are, and we will not allow you to get away with it any longer.”
— Hugo Clément (@hugoclement) May 19, 2018